State Senator Kruger never really explained who exactly the 500 or so protesters he bussed into the November 19th CIDC meeting were. He told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle that they were, "from churches and civic organizations (though he declined to tell the Eagle which ones)." According to eyewitess accounts posted on the Coney Island USA message board one of these 'civic groups' was BUILD. This makes all too much sense.
BUILD (Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development) describes itself as "an organization committed to supporting development as a means of creating economic opportunities to promote financial self-sufficiency and prosperity in socio-economically depressed communities." Others, however, would describe BUILD as a sham group which largely exists to create the illusion of widespread community support for developer Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards project. BUILD's website claims that it is a 'myth' that they are financially supported by Ratner's development group, and that they rely on member support.
The New York Times reports:
Mr. Ratner's links to a different group, Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development, or Build, that has drawn the most attention from critics, who say it didn't incorporate until after the plans [for the Atlantic Yards project] were announced. The company has denied that it provided financial support to launch the group, but a spokesman said that as part of the community-benefits agreement, the company recently gave Build a $100,000 grant and covers its overhead costs.
Labor activist Kim Moody's recent book, 'From Welfare State to Real Estate, backs up this claim, adding that in addition to the money, Ratner's group also provided BUILD with office space. At last year's hearings on the Atlantic Yard project Kruger served the same function as BUILD, using his voice as a representative of Brooklyn community's to try to paint Ratner's project as a vehicle for helping Brooklyn residents. "We're not talking about the Nets Arena. We're not talking about Forest City Ratner," said Kruger, "We're talking about Brooklyn, we're talking about communities, we're talking about Brooklyn first." In reality, however, it was not the abstract ideas of 'Brooklyn' and 'community' that Kruger was advocating, but the actual construction of the neighborhood destroying Nets Arena by Forest City Ratner.
The Nov. 19th 'Community Information Session' on the redevelopment of Coney Island was in many ways identical to the hearing on the Atlantic Yards Development project. We have the same politician and the same sham 'community group' trying to portray the plans of millionaire developers as being in the best interest of the very neighborhoods which their development plans seek to destroy.